Salem against "Reawaken America Tour"
Salem against "Reawaken America Tour"
This petition is to take a stance against the “Reawaken America Tour” that is scheduled for April 1 and 2 at The River Church in Salem, Oregon. We want to urge our city and state leadership to take a swift and direct stance declaring that Salem does not welcome an event that, not only goes against the recommendation of the CDC, but also has a high probability of spreading a highly infectious disease during a pandemic which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.
If you have not heard of this event, we urge you to review these two links:
Brenna Visser of the “Bend Bulletin” on how and why the event chose to move from Redmond to Salem, after Deschutes County officials informed them that they would be enforcing a mask mandate: https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/2022/01/far-right-reawaken-america-tour-canceled-in-redmond-moved-to-salem.html
The website for “Reawaken America Tour,” which gives a summary of the event: https://www.thrivetimeshow.com/reawaken-america-tour/
The “Reawaken” website lists 54 speakers for the Salem event. Many of whom, are high-profile conservatives known for spreading fallacious and dangerous information related to the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines, and the democratic election of President Joe Biden.
The following speakers will be in attendance:
Disgraced General Michael Flynn, a convicted felon who willfully and knowingly made false statements to the FBI in relation to his conversations with a Russian diplomat. Who also declared his support of the suspension of the constitution and the declaration of martial law. He has been quoted in a Newsmax Interview as saying “within the swing states, if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election in each of those states”. Flynn’s dangerous and inaccurate rhetoric led Twitter to permanently ban him from their platform.
Roger Stone, who was convicted on seven felony counts for obstructing a congressional investigation. Stone is known in Salem for employing members of the Proud Boys, a well documented hate group, to serve as bodyguards at the Republican Party meeting in 2018.
Joey Gilbert, a Nevada gubernatorial candidate and attendee of the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection. When the Nevada Current newspaper asked Gilbert if he regretted his participation in the riot which led to the deaths of five people and injured hundreds of law enforcement, he responded, “Not a single regret, I was proud to be there as an American and a patriot, standing up for our country and for an election that I did not believe was done fairly.”
The “Reawaken” website states they will be selling 2,500 tickets for the event. It explains that organizers moved the event from Deschutes County, where they would have been forced to abide by the governor’s mask mandate, to The River Church in Salem, a private church where the mandate will not be enforced and where the pastor, Lew Wootan, has vocally opposed vaccine mandates and other COVID restrictions.
The goal of this event is to gather 2,500 people and 54 speakers, most of whom deny the existence and/or severity of COVID-19, from all over the United States into a region where a large population of Salem’s marginalized communities reside. Knowing that said communities are at a higher risk for COVID-19, who’s omicron variant has already begun to ravage the population. Furthermore, the reason for moving the event to Salem so that those 2,500 people do not have to wear masks, show proof of vaccination status, or follow any of the guidance of the CDC and the OHA that require them to do the bare minimum in order to stop the spread of a global pandemic that is killing hundreds of thousands of United States citizens, is abhorrent and should be condemned by every government official.
In the beginning of April 2,500 people will descend on Salem businesses, that are barely staying afloat and striving to keep their employees and consumers safe. These businesses will be forced to make the hard decision between enforcing the mask mandate, thereby keeping themselves safe, and the potentially dangerous confrontation with someone who believes that a riot in which five people died was a valid and obvious response to losing an election.
It is obvious that this event also brings with it the potential for great violence. Many in our community are already expressing concerns for their own safety and the safety of their neighbors. The three above mentioned speakers have already proven that they are willing to break the law, even if it results in death, in order to “stand up for our country”. A term that they and their followers have broadly used to include any event which upsets or slightly inconveniences them. The connections between the speakers of this event and a well-known hate group should concern us all. The Proud Boys are a hate group known for their violence, who have enacted said violence time and time again in the streets of Salem, across Oregon and the United States. They have brutalized, harassed and harmed many Salem residents and have been known to specifically target people of color to perpetuate hate crimes.
We do not delude ourselves with the idea that our local government does not have the power to regulate or prevent events held in a private church. However, we do believe that it is the duty of public servants to vocally express the opposition for an event such as the “Reawaken America Tour”. It is the duty as public servants to denounce false rhetoric concerning the pandemic, because they understand first hand the effects it has had on our community. It is the duty as a public servant to let organizations like those who put together the “Reawaken America Tour” know that in this city we do not stand for lawlessness, we do not stand for violence towards our residents, and we do not condone visitors to come into our city and disregard our safety by ignoring clear precautions and restrictions set forth by our governmental health agencies.
The residents of our community await a statement expressing you have heard our valid concerns and telling those attending the “Reawaken America Tour” that though they have found a way around the law by holding their event inside a church, outside the church the law still stands and will be enforced.
Concerned citizens of Salem